C u r r e n t P r o j e c t s
Melissa's work with a broad range of domestic and international non-profits and schools, is marked by human contact, empathy, engagement and creativity. She is a social activist that brings herself to the people and organizations she's interested in helping and engages people directly with art, song, and photography.
She has an extensive background as a humanitarian photographer, in arts education and in exhibition,
Melissa has extensive background as a humanitarian photographer, in arts education and in exhibition. On island, she has worked with our non-profit Media Voices for Children for the past three years, as a Board Member and curator of our education photo exhibit on child labor, Beneath the Barcode, which is now being developed into a national curriculum for grades 9-12 .
She has made presentations in Vineyard Schools, taught photography to children at Polly Hill Arboretum, worked with the elderly at Windemere and helped organized programs this past summer for the Tribal Council in Aquinnah.
In January, she will undertake arts projects at an orphanage in Tanzania for Precious Project.
The one year project Melissa proposes for her Vision Fellowship envisions conducting a dozen or more interviews with currently or previously homeless people, using either digital photography or video and developing a book and public exhibition that she can present at a wide range of public venues, libraries, meeting spaces like Pathways and within the framework of the Vision Fellow Program. The intent of her work is to find more empathic ways to address and discuss being homeless or poor or both on Martha's Vineyard and approach it in a way that is non-judgmental and informs conversation and drives action.
She tailors her programs to suit the diverse needs of the school, its children, and teachers, to ensure ongoing creative development for the whole community to enjoy.
Whilst working as a teacher, she also works as a documentarian, collecting the stories and life circumstances of children, through digital photography and interviews.
with arts educational programs, as well as Creativity has the special power to enhance the wellbeing of others, encourage a culture of gratitude & reciprocity, and strengthen kinship to community & land. It is a way that each child can feel valued and supported, and encouraged for the qualities that he or she already has.
Melissa's particular innovation is her application of empathetic-outreach℠ approaches to art, photography and music in therapeutic, educational, and professional settings, "placing her at the forefront of innovative and inclusive arts pedagogy". She has the unique ability to inspire a confidence in each individual’s creativity, at the same time as helping each individual to use their creativity to help their wider community.
Melissa works internationally, and partners with:
Schools & After-School Programs
Colleges & Universities
Galleries & Museums
Orphanages & Children's Societies
Human Rights Organizations
Healthcare Facilities, Nursing Homes & Senior Centers
Non-Profits & Human Rights Agencies